Democrats called former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress Wednesday on his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election with the hope of finding grounds to impeach President Trump.
What they got were halting and sometimes contradictory responses that indicated he was not familiar with his report.
Many Twitter users noted it became clear during the hearing that it was Mueller’s staff of mostly Hillary Clinton supporters that drove the investigation and the report.
“His reputation gave credibility to an attempted coup d’etat,” wrote Larry Edington. “He clearly does not have the mental capacity to have been the driving force behind this report.”
Mueller’s team found no evidence for Democratic claims the Trump 2016 campaign colluded with Russia and decided not to refer obstruction charges.
Fox News analyst Brit Hume wrote on Twitter: “Mueller is still struggling to answer questions even after questions are repeated and he’s had a chance to look up relevant portions of report.”
Grabien reported Mueller “frequently appeared confused during his much-anticipated Capitol Hill testimony.”
“Mueller, who is often celebrated in the media for laser-like thinking, had to ask lawmakers to regularly repeat their questions, seemingly struggling to pay attention,” the report said
In just the first 90 minutes, Mueller “needed help understanding” the questions more than 10 times.
One time he asked Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., where he was reading from, and the lawmaker said, “My own question.” Mueller then asked, “Then can you repeat it?”
Grabien reported Mueller insisted Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, clarify her question three times.
Under questioning from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Mueller failed to follow a question that was merely 14 words long, Grabien noted: “Attorney No. 2 in the inspector general’s report and Strzok both worked on your team, didn’t they?”
Talk-radio radio host Rush Limbaugh took notice.
“He’s either uninformed or incapacitated somehow,” he said. “Mueller is not there. Mueller has never been there.”
He suggested Mueller was a “figurehead,” used by the Washington establishment to lend credibility to claims of collusion.
“This investigation has been run by staff,” he said. “He’s part of the silent coup effort to get rid of Trump.”
The Gateway Pundit commented, “Mueller looked like a confused, stuttering, agreeable, lost and nervous doddering old man.”
Mediaiate reported Fox Business host Stuart Varney spoke with Judge Andrew Napolitano as the Mueller hearing got underway.
Napolitano said so far it showed Mueller “is a good Marine and he’s gonna follow the instructions from the Department of Justice and basically not talk about ongoing cases, not talk about the deliberations that led to the report, and not talk about anything outside the report.”
Varney added: “Forgive me for making almost a personal comment. Robert Mueller seems frail. He does not seem really sharp and in line with answering the questions. Yes or no is what he’s been giving.”
Former Obama aide David Axelrod wrote on Twitter: “This is delicate to say, but Mueller, whom I deeply respect, has not publicly testified before Congress in at least six years. And he does not appear as sharp as he was then.”
The Washington Examiner noted that several times Mueller appeared to be unfamiliar with his own investigation.
“In speaking about one of the integral parts of the Russia investigation, Mueller contradicted himself on definitions of ‘conspiracy,’ which his team did look for in their investigative examination of the Trump campaign, and ‘collusion,’ which they did not due to its lack of a legal definition,” the report said
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., asked Mueller if the terms collusion and conspiracy were synonymous, and Mueller said no. But Collins then pointed to Mueller’s report, which said they were.
Repeatedly, Mueller simply responded “Out of my purview” to a variety of questions.
The report said, “Under questioning from Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, Mueller had to be reminded who Corey Lewandowski is. Lewandowski, Trump’s one-time presidential campaign manager, was mentioned 129 times in Mueller’s report.”
A DailyMail.com headline said: “‘Disoriented’ Mueller’s stumbling responses to questions during blockbuster hearing leave social media concerned the special counsel seems a ‘confused old man’ but some think it is all a strategy to frustrate the committee members.”
Radio personality Mark Levin tweeted: “I say that not as a personal attack but as a rational observation. It’s on display today during this hearing.”
DailyMail.com noted Mueller appeared to not know about Fusion GPS, the political firm that contracted with Christopher Steele, with funding from Hillary Clinton, to create the “dossier” of unverified claims about the president. The document has been described as a foundation of the collusion investigation.